Life in the Texas Governor’s Mansion

By Alec Head, Reference Librarian

Many Austin landmarks are associated with Texas government, but few are so distinguished or iconic as the Texas Governor’s Mansion. The mansion was designed and built by Abner Cook after a $14,500 appropriation by the Texas Legislature in 1854. From its picturesque setting overlooking Colorado Street, the mansion has been the home of every Texas governor since Governor Elisha Pease and his family arrived in 1856. Many collections at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) tell the story of this historic home and its legendary inhabitants who shaped the course of Texas history.

Governor’s Mansion, Luck Bros., about 1919. Places Collection, 1/103-80. Prints and Photographs.

Selections from TSLAC archival collections comprise the exhibit Texas Governors and Their Times, 1846-1946, on view in the TSLAC lobby through May 15. The exhibit includes photographs and records of former governors and archival artifacts from the mansion itself. The image below, from TSLAC’s prints and photograph collection, captured the view of the Governor’s Mansion and grounds as seen from the Texas Capitol in 1894.

View of the Governor’s Mansion and fenced-in grounds in 1894. Southwest from the Capitol, 1894. Art Work of Austin, 1/002-27. Prints and Photographs.

Former First Lady Jean Houston Daniel and co-author Dorothy Blodgett published a history of the mansion in 1984 and donated their extensive research materials to TSLAC.

Brochure for the book, The Texas Governor’s Mansion: A History of the House and Its Occupants, by Jean and Price Daniel and Dorothy Blodgett, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 1984. Texas Documents, L1900.8 T312gom.

Many others have published works on the history of the Texas Governor’s Mansion that are a part of TSLAC’s library collections. A selection of the titles are listed below and are also on display in the Reference Reading Room.



Call Number


Abner Cook, master builder, 1814-1884 : his life, labors, and legacy

Petticrew, Andrée

720.924 C771a


A History of the Texas Governor’s Mansion

Neeley, Linda

725.17 N292h


Courage, charm, and character: the story of the first ladies of Texas and the historic gown collection at Texas Woman’s University

Hartzog, Martha

391.2 H259c OVER-T


Dining at the governor’s mansion 1st ed.

McQueary, Carl

641.59764 M242d

e-Book online

First Ladies of Texas: The first one hundred years, 1836-1936: a history

Farrell, Mary

976.406 F247F


Furnishings of historic interest in the Governor’s Mansion

Daniel, Jean

917.643 D224


Identified with Texas: The Lives of Governor Elisha Marshall Pease and Lucadia Niles Pease

Whitlow, Elizabeth

Z N745.8 W590i c.1

Texas Documents

Ma’s in the kitchen : you’ll know when it’s done : the recipes and history of Governor Miriam A. Ferguson, first woman governor of Texas

McQueary, Carl

976.4061 F381M


Miriam : the southern belle who became the first woman governor of Texas

Paulissen, May

976.4061 F381P

Main, e-Book online

Please pass the biscuits, Pappy : pictures of Governor W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel

Crawford, Bill

976.4063 OD1p

Main, e-Book online

The Governor’s Mansion of Texas : a historic tour

Alexander, Drury

725.1702 G7462


The Governor’s Mansion of Texas : a tour of Texas’ most historic home

Herndon, Dealey

725.1702 G746 1997


The Governor’s mansion of Texas and its furnishings

Hamer, Marcell

917.64 H178g


The power of the Texas governor : Connally to Bush

McCall, Brian

Z UA380.8 M124po

Texas Documents, e-Book online

The Texas Governor

Welch, June

976.406 W444t


The Texas Governor’s Mansion : a history of the house and its occupants

Daniel, Jean

L1900.8 T312gom

Texas Documents

For more information about our collections and services, please contact the reference desk at 512-463-5455 or

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